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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Class 2 Cake

Here is my cake for class 2 of course 1:

After class 1 I was so excited about making it but waited til the night before to bake the cake since I didn't want it to dry out. I'm really impressed by the even strips that came in my kit. You wrap them around your pans and then magically your cake comes out flat. When it came to icing the cake, I used the cake icer tip. So much easier than putting a blob of icing in the center of the cake and going from there. I used all the tips my instructor told me about icing the cake and running the spatula under hot water makes such a difference. I'm such a perfectionist that finally I had to tell myself to put the spatula down. My instructor said my icing was really smooth and I lived out my dream of having the best iced cake in class.

I only had time to finish the pink part in class and then did the rest when I got home. I was so excited about finishing it that I forgot my ROY G. BIV order. The next day I took it to my grandparents and my mom to share. I had used raspberry jam for the filling and it turned out really nice.

Next week we can make cupcakes, a round cake, or mini cakes to do our "clown cake". When I was telling my grandparents this my grandfather laughed because they once took me to Hardee's when I was little and I screamed and cried because a clown was there. The clown cake is kinda scary. I'm going to be less excited to show it off.

Apple Crostata

Apple Crostata
For the pastry:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated or superfine sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 pound (1 stick) very cold unsalted butter, diced
2 tablespoons ice water

For the filling:
1 1/2 pounds McIntosh, Macoun, or Empire apples (3 large)
1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup granulated or superfine sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced

For the pastry, place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and pulse 12 to 15 times, or until the butter is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water all at once through the feed tube. Keep hitting the pulse button to combine, but stop the machine just before the dough becomes a solid mass. Turn the dough onto a well-floured board and form into a disk. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Flour a rolling pin and roll the pastry into an 11-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer it to a baking sheet.

For the filling, peel, core, and cut the apples into 8ths. Cut each wedge into 3 chunks. Toss the chunks with the orange zest. Cover the tart dough with the apple chunks leaving a 1 1/2-inch border.

Combine the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and allspice in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Pour into a bowl and rub it with your fingers until it starts holding together. Sprinkle evenly on the apples. Gently fold the border over the apples to enclose the dough, pleating it to make a circle.

Bake the crostata for 20 to 25 minutes, until the crust is golden and the apples are tender. Allow to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Creme Brulee

I decided to break out my new creme brulee set that I got for Christmas last night for a New Years dinner. It turned out perfect! I made 6 servings but I had enough to make at least two more. The recipe is pretty simple. Be sure to add the hot cream slowly so you don't end up with scrambled eggs (I always hear this tip on tv). Since I didn't have any Grand Marnier I added another half teaspoon of vanilla. And as you might imagine it is very fun torching the sugar on top :)

Creme Brulee
1 extra-large egg
4 extra-large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for each serving
3 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier)
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the egg, egg yolks, and 1/2 cup of the sugar together on low speed until just combined. Meanwhile, scald the cream in a small saucepan until it's very hot to the touch but not boiled. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the cream to the eggs. Add the vanilla and orange liqueur and pour into 6 to 8-ounce ramekins until almost full.

Place the ramekins in a baking pan and carefully pour boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the custards are set when gently shaken. Remove the custards from the water bath, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until firm.

To serve, spread 1 tablespoon of sugar evenly on the top of each ramekin and heat with a kitchen blowtorch until the sugar carmelizes evenly. Allow to sit at room temperature for a minute until the caramelized sugar hardens.